Talking About Tax Services For Small Business Owners

Injured Spouse Relief And Innocent Spouse Relief Are Not The Same

Injured spouse and innocent spouse are two tax terms often used interchangeably. However, it's important to understand that while the two terms sound somewhat similar — they are quite different. With that being said, people don't necessarily qualify for relief under the injured spouse guideline and automatically qualify for innocent spouse relief. 

Spousal Roles

One of the first factors that the IRS will consider when examining a persons' request for innocent spouse relief is their role within the tax situation. For example, in a situation where the wife intentionally understated her income and the husband knew nothing about it, the husband could apply for innocent spouse relief against any penalties that arose, as he was not aware of his wife's actions. 

On the other hand, if the wife intentionally understated her income, and the husband correctly stated his earnings, but was fully aware of his wife's actions, and it can be proven, he likely would not qualify for the relief since he inadvertently played a role in the scheme. 

With injured spouse relief, it's the opposite. Whether or not the other spouse knew about their partner's debts is not a factor. The only goal of this process is to help the spouse recover any portion of their refund that was used to help cover the debts of their spouse. 


Owing money to the IRS or another government agency isn't always an intentional act or one driven by deceit, which is a large factor that separates an injured spouse from an innocent spouse. If your partner has past-due child support, defaulted student loans, or unpaid taxes, and your share of taxes are also offset, you'd likely qualify as an injured spouse. 

The government would consider that the debts are valid, but you did not have any part in incurring them. However, if the person is intentionally trying to defraud the government out of money by providing erroneous information, it's different. 

To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you have to prove that the intentions of your spouse were as such. If you try to apply for injured spouse relief in this type of scenario, you'd be denied. Innocent spouse is always the way to go when the intent was to deceive the government. 

If you believe you qualify for innocent spouse relief, it's important you reach out for assistance. A relief specialist can verify that you do, in fact, qualify for the protection, and work with you to initiate the relief process. 

For more information, you will want to contact a a company such as Inside Out Tax Resolution Services.